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Iowa projects more groups eligible for vaccine by early March, launching call center and online resources

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JOHNSTON, Iowa (KWWL) -- Governor Kim Reynolds provided updates on Iowa's vaccination timeline and announced other state vaccine initiatives during her COVID-19 press conference on Thursday.

Reynolds said she expects to have a majority of Iowans 65 and older receive their first dose of the vaccine by mid-March.

"Next week, we project that 70% of tier 1 populations will have received at least one dose of the vaccine," Reynolds said. "This includes our first responders, K12 teachers and staff, and child care workers. And we also estimate that 70% of Iowans age 65 and older will have received their first dose of the vaccine by mid-March."

Reynolds says the 70% benchmark of eligible groups receiving at least one dose can give a timetable based on allocations for when the next groups will be eligible. Essential workers and individuals with disabilities living in home settings are expected to start vaccinations in early March and could reach the 70% mark in early April. Once a group becomes eligible, they remain eligible.

Reynolds announced the state will be launching a new vaccine website to help people find vaccine locations near them. Going live on Friday, vaccinate.iowa.gov will provide a vaccine locator, information about eligibility, resources available, and answers to frequently asked questions. The website will be able to connect you to a provider where you can check availability and schedule in their system, but you will not be able to schedule an appointment or register to be contacted directly on the site.

Reynolds also announced the addition of 'vaccine navigators' to the 211 call center to assist older Iowans trying to schedule a vaccine appointment. Beginning the week of March 8, those aged 65 and older can call the 211 hotline to get help schedule an appointment at a local Hy-Vee pharmacy. Individuals who call will be asked for their name, phone number, and birthdate.

On Friday, some 'vaccine navigators' will start reaching out to older Iowans who have contacted the Association of Area Agencies on Aging for assistance.

Reynolds says vaccine deliveries are back on track after being late in several Iowa counties due to a White House backlog from severe weather across the county.

While the FDA is still in the process of approving the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, Reynolds says an initial 2 million doses will be available nationally, and 25,800 doses will be sent to Iowa next week pending approval.

You can view a timetable on expected eligibility in Iowa that the state provided during the conference here.

You can find more vaccine information at kwwl.com/vaccine and can direct any questions you have regarding the vaccine to vaccine@kwwl.com.

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Andrew Pearce

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